Sunday, January 30, 2011


Delirium (Delirium, #1)Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Hardcover: 448 pages
ISBN: 978-0061726828
Price: $17.99
Recommended for: Grades 9+

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lena Haloway is a 17-year old girl living in an alternate present in Portland, Maine. She lives in a time and place that love is considered to be a dangerous, fatal disease. Boys and girls are kept strictly apart to avoid any problems and books and websites are censored. And at the age of 18, everyone is "cured" of the disease, and matched with a suitable mate to live out their scripted lives in complete neutrality.

Lena's checkered past has been difficult and heartbreaking. Her dad died young, her mom committed suicide and her cousin's husband was found to be a "sympathizer" of those who want to do away with the cure. Lena, however, is counting down the days until she can be cured, because only then will she feel safe.

But then Lena meets Alex and the world as she knows it changes completely...

This young adult dystopian novel has elements of both The Giver and The Hunger Games. It's fast-paced, thought-provoking, and has a great romantic angle. (Alex looks just like Zac Efron to me!) I felt the world-building has some internal inconsistencies and some of the descriptive language was a little repetitious. But I can't imagine that this book won't fly off library and bookstore shelves. This is the start of a trilogy and there's a serious cliffhanger at the end. I, for one, am waiting anxiously for the next book in this series.

Things to know: There are some sexual elements and some brief, strong language.

Also reviewed by: The Eclectic ReaderThoughts of Joy... ~ Open Mind, Insert Book ~ Bart's Bookshelf ~ Your link here?

Source: Copy provided by netGalley for review purposes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Book is Overdue! - TLC Book Tour

This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Original Publication Date: February 2, 2010
Paperback Available: January 25, 2011
Paperback: 282 pages
ISBN: 9780061431616
Price: $14.99

I got my Master's in Library Science in 2008 and I have constantly found myself trying to explain to skeptics what it is about being a librarian that requires a Master's degree. To study the information sciences, there are classes in human information behavior, information technologies, principles of searching, multimedia production, reference services, digital libraries, YA literature, organizing information (like creating indexes), learning theory for the classroom, social software, library management, cataloging, collection development, and I could go on and on. Those are just the classes I took!

When I was contacted about joining the book tour for this book, I knew I had to see what a non-librarian thought of librarians today. I'm pleased to say the author really did our profession justice. It's clear that Marilyn Johnson spent a lot of time hanging out with librarians and really delving into what a complex and wide-ranging skill set librarians have. She watched first hand how a software migration went down in her local library (not well), spent hours on Second Life, went to the ALA conferences, witnessed a shift in services at NYPL, and went to a library opening in Darien, Connecticut. She learned about librarians as archivists, bloggers, political and human rights activists, and teachers.

I live in an area that used to have a wonderful library system--until the recession hit and 84 librarians lost their jobs, branch libraries closed and hours were reduced. It's a tough time to be a librarian, but more critical than ever. Johnson makes a compelling case for librarians, but I worry that this book will never reach the hands of those that need to read it most.

Other tour stops:

January 25th: Reading Through Life
January 31st: 1330v
February 1st: One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books
February 2nd: Man of La Book
February 7th: Boarding in My Forties
February 10th: Stacy’s Books
February 15th: Books Like Breathing
February 16th: Proud Book Nerd
February 18th: A Fanatic’s Book Blog
Source: I received this book from the publisher as part of the TLC Book Tour.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bamboo People

Bamboo PeopleBamboo People by Mitali Perkins

AR Reading Level: 4.4
On the library stacks: YA Fiction
Recommended for: Grades 7+

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chiko's father is a doctor who has been imprisoned for speaking out against the government of Burma. As money runs scarce for Chiko and his mother, 15-year old Chiko decides to answer an ad in the newspaper to become a teacher. When he arrives for the interview, however, he realizes he has been set up and will be forced to become a soldier to fight against the Karenni people.

Tu Reh is a young Karenni boy who watched Burmese soldiers burn down his village. Living in a refugee camp on the border of Thailand, he is angry and wants revenge. But when his chance comes, will he take it, or will he show mercy according to the principles he has been taught?

This book is written in a straight forward and simple manner that is easy and engaging to read. It's a story about friendship despite extremely trying circumstances that will resonate with people of all cultures and backgrounds.

I knew virtually nothing about the plight of the Karenni people and very little about the history of Burma in general before I read this. I love books like this for bringing things to my attention that I have previously ignored and for encouraging me to become more educated and aware of the world in which I live.

Also reviewed by: Book Nut ~ Ms. Yingling Reads ~ Bermudaonion's Weblog ~ Becky's Book Reviews ~ Your link here?

Source: Library

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the MoonWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

AR Reading Level: 5.5
On the library stacks: Children's fiction
Awards: ALA Notable/Best Books; E.B. White Award; NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts; Newbery Honor
Recommended for: Grades 3+

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I pulled this book out to read, both of my older kids said, "Hey! The librarian at school started reading that to us last year." I think this book would make an excellent read-aloud, but unfortunately, the librarian never finished it with either of them. That's a situation I plan to remedy now!

Minli is a girl who lives in a poor village in the shadow of the Fruitless Mountain. Every day she and her parents work hard to earn their rice. They have an extremely modest, but comfortable life together. However, Minli's mother is always sighing, wishing that life didn't have to be such a struggle. So Minli leaves on a journey to meet the Old Man of the Moon, who has answers to all of life's questions, to seek her family's fortune.

This is a sweet fairy tale with gorgeous illustrations. The author incorporates her spin on various Asian legends and fables throughout the book, tying them into Minli's story. It's a tale about finding true happiness regardless of our circumstances and extols the virtues of gratitude, kindness and selflessness. It's just a great book, and I can't wait for my kids to finish it.

Special thanks to Melissa at Book Nut for recommending this one as part of the

Also reviewed by: Becky's Book Reviews ~ In the Pages... ~ Linus's Blanket ~ Your link here?

Source: Purchased

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Moon Over Manifest

Moon Over ManifestMoon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

AR Reading Level: 5.3
On the library stacks: Children's fiction
Award: 2011 Newbery winner
Recommended for: Grades 5+

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Abilene Tucker is a 12-year old girl living on the rails with her Dad in Kansas during the Depression. After Abilene has a health scare, Gideon Tucker puts her on a train to spend the summer in Manifest, a town where he had spent some time growing up.

Once Abilene gets to Manifest, she digs around the town history, trying to understand more about her Dad and why he would send her there. She learns all about the town during World War I with the help of a diviner, a Hungarian woman named Miss Sadie. Ultimately, Abilene uncovers the truths she seeks and helps a town heal from its past while allowing her and her father to develop a future together.
I like how the novel was told in alternating voices between the past and the present. Because the main characters from World War I sections are teenage boys, this book could easily pass for a children's or YA novel and works for either boys or girls. My only concern is that I wonder if kids will like it as much as grown-ups will. Certainly younger kids are going to need to be educated about Prohibition and bootlegging before they read.

But this book is definitely worth its Newbery-winning salt. The different voices from the town each worked like a puzzle piece, with the final pieces completing the picture in the last pages of the novel. This book was heartbreaking, heartwarming, witty, and well-written.

Also reviewed by: Book Nut ~ Becky's Book Reviews ~ Your link here?

Source: Library

Friday, January 14, 2011


SavvySavvy by Ingrid Law

AR Reading Level: 6.0
On the library stacks: Young adult fiction
Awards: Kirkus Editors Choice; Boston Globe/Horn Book Award/Honors; Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature; Newbery Honor; Publishers Weekly Best Book; Andre Norton Award; ALA Notable/Best Books
Recommended for: Grades 4+

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mibs comes from an extraordinary family. Each kid gets a superpower of sorts, called a savvy, when they turn 13. But Mibs turns 13 during a critical time in her family. Her dad is in the hospital after a horrible accident. Mibs can't stand being away from him and she's sure that if she can sort out her savvy and find her way to the hospital, she can make everything turn out right.

This is a really creative book with great word choice. I read it out loud with my 10-year old and, while I loved saying all those cool words, it seemed to drag on a little long for me. I think maybe that's because most of the book takes place on a single day, and it took us quite literally months to get through it.

I liked how each member of Mibs' family has a purpose in making the family unit whole and complete. I did think there were too many characters in the book overall though. I'm also definitely too much of a rule-follower to get excited about the rebelliousness of the kids in achieving their goal. But it's a heartwarming tale that isn't afraid of discussing God, and I certainly shed a few tears at the end.

Also reviewed by: Book ClutterTeen Lit Review ~ Bloggin' 'bout Books ~ Good Clean Reads ~ So Many Books, So Little Time ~ Booking Mama ~ Becky's Book Reviews ~ Fuzzy Cricket ~ Maw Books ~ Lesa's Book Critiques ~ Books & other thoughts ~ Book Nut ~ It's All About Books ~ Your link here? 

Source: Purchased

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guests of the Sheik

Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi VillageGuests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea

On the library stacks: Adult non-fiction

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is the fascinating account of a newly-married woman who lived with her husband in a remote Shiite village in Iraq from 1957-58. Elizabeth's husband Bob was doing graduate work studying anthropology both in Baghdad and a rural community called El Nahra. In this book, Elizabeth details her time in El Nahra among the women.

While Elizabeth thought her presence might cause envy among the women, instead she found that they actually felt sorry for her. The city of Baghdad was much more progressive than the outlying areas during that time period, and Elizabeth did not wear the veil, or abayah, while she lived there. She was determined to stay true to herself and her cultural identity when they moved to the village. But after being stared at and somewhat ridiculed, she changed her mind and wore it all the time.

I love how this book made me think about how many of my strongly-held ideals are a function of my cultural traditions and how they could quite possibly be completely irrational in a different setting. One thing that really stuck out to me is how being separated from one's mother, either by death or by distance, was considered to be a life-altering sadness. I also liked when the women of the village came to stay by Elizabeth's bedside the whole time she was sick. To them nothing was worse than being alone while unwell. But really, Elizabeth just wanted to be left alone.

This book is written in a casual tone that I really liked. I enjoyed getting to know Elizabeth and the women of the village who became such an important part of her life. (She even named one of her daughters Laila after one of her new friends.) Elizabeth thought she would be teaching them her modern ideas, but instead her time there became a journey of self-discovery as she allowed them to teach her.

Source: Kindle purchase

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French KissAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

On the library stacks: YA Fiction
Recommended for: Grades 9+

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anna's father has decided that she needs to spend her senior year of high school at an exclusive school for Americans in Paris. Anna is pretty furious about it, but she quickly falls in with a group of friends that help her explore the wonders of the city.

One of her new friends is Etienne St. Clair, a boy with an American mother, a French Father, and an English accent from growing up in London. Anna falls for gorgeous Etienne hook, line, and sinker. But there are complications. Etienne has a girlfriend, Anna has a guy back in Atlanta that might be more than a friend, and their joint friend Mer has had a crush on St. Clair for forever. Anna's not sure whether Etienne feels the same, and if she should risk their friendship by pushing the relationship forward.

This book is delicious brain candy. Yes, it is cheesy and frivolous. Yes, there is a little too much in there discussing the "cute" Briticisms Etienne uses. And yes, the characters are naive and have aggravating misunderstandings. But once I started reading, I was done in less than 24 hours. It's just pure fun. (And hooray for an NC author!)

Things you may want to know: There is some strong language, discussions about sex, and underage drinking.

Also reviewed by: Ticket to AnywhereNot Enough Bookshelves

Source: Library

Friday, January 7, 2011

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Saving CeeCee HoneycuttSaving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman 

On the library stacks: Adult fiction

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

CeeCee is a 12-year old girl living in Ohio with her mom. Her dad is a traveling salesman and is rarely seen at home. During the past few years, CeeCee's mom has been exhibiting disturbing signs of psychosis. CeeCee has been left alone to deal with it all--the embarrassment and the mess, the sadness and the loneliness.

In a tragic accident, CeeCee's mom dies and she is sent to live with her Great-Aunt Tootie in Savannah, Georgia. CeeCee learns all about Southern wit, wisdom, beauty and hospitality from the wonderful women who come into her life.

This is a great book for fans of Southern women's literature. The city of Savannah is a character in itself and I loved the descriptions of the flowers, trees, food, and architecture. I didn't love how all the men in the book were either marginalized or make to look like complete jerks. But if you like a good "girl power" book, this one will fit the bill nicely.

Also reviewed by:  Confessions of a Book Habitue ~ Lesa's Book Critiques ~ StephtheBookworm ~ Peeking Between the Pages ~ Savvy Verse & Wit ~ Diary of an Eccentric ~ Beth Fish Reads ~ The Eclectic Reader  ~ Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings ~ Missy's Book Nook ~ Bermudaonion's Weblog ~ Your link here?

Source: Purchased

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Chains (Seeds of America, #1)Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

AR Reading Level: 5.2
On the library stacks: Young Adult Fiction
Awards: Parent's Choice Award/Honor Book; National Book Award Nominee; Carnegie Medal/Honors; ALA Notable/Best Books; Scott O'Dell Award; Publishers Weekly Best Book; Booklist Editors' Choice
Series: Book 1 of 3 (Seeds of America) 
Recommended for: Grades 7+

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Isabel is a 13-year old slave who lives with her 5-year old sister in Rhode Island. After her owner dies, they are meant to be set free. But they are illegally sold to a cruel couple and are taken to New York City where they live.

What Isabel doesn't realize is that she has been taken to the middle of a war zone--Loyalists vs. Patriots. Her master is a Loyalist, but she knows that the Patriots proclaim that "all men are created equal." In the hopes of obtaining her freedom, Isabel becomes a spy until things go horribly wrong.

There are so many really great things about this book. It tackles a time and place and circumstance that is often overlooked. New York was a critical hold for the British during the Revolution and approximately 20% of the population at the time were slaves. Both sides tried offered deals for slaves in exchange for their support, but both had their own agendas and little concern for the plight of the slaves.

Isabel is a well-written complex character. I hurt and ached right along with her. The violence in this book is graphic and was even hard for me to read, but I think this book is an accurate and excellent piece of historical fiction. Laurie Halse Anderson has clearly done her research and I give her kudos for writing this series. I can't wait to read the next one.

Also reviewed by: Bloggin' 'bout BooksBecky's Book Reviews ~ It's All About Books ~ Reviews of Young Adult Literature ~ Book Nut ~ A Comfy Chair and a Good Book ~ Maw Books ~ cucullus non facit monachum ~ Your link here?

Source: Purchased

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Reading Goals

I'm one of those people that gets a little obsessive about my goals. If I say I'm going to do something, I WILL do it, even if it really turns out not to be the best thing for me because it causes me stress I really don't need.

Take reading challenges...I have completed every one that I signed up for. And last year that meant that virtually all my reading choices were decided for me, because they had to fit into one (or two or three) challenge categories. I enjoy being a part of reading challenges immensely because it has broadened my reading horizons and I've met a lot of great bloggers that way.

But this year I need a break. I need to be able to mosey on over to my shelf and pick up whatever strikes my fancy. So this year I'm only doing one challenge that I put together with Melissa at Book Nut and Corinne at The Book Nest.

We each chose 5 books that we wanted each other to read. So here's what I'll be reading:

Corinne's Recommendations:

Davita's Harp by Chaim Potok
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous or Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams
Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
Quest for a Maid by Frances Mary Hendry

Melissa's Recommendations:

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy
Paper Towns by John Green

I love all the stuff they recommend, so for fun I may also read some of Corinne's books for Melissa, and Melissa's books for Corinne:

On Fortune's Wheel by Cynthia Voigt
Precious Bane by Mary Webb
The Zookeeper's Wife or The Natural History of the Senses by  Diane Ackerman
Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
Pastwatch or Wyrms by Orson Scott Card

A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay
My Life in France by Julia Child

To see what I recommended for these lovely ladies, click here and here.

Other than that, I'd really like to incorporate the reading of my husband and my older kids here in some way, as yet to be determined. I'd also like more than half of my reading to be from books that I owned prior to 1/1/11.

I'm looking forward to reading this year and to reading your blogs to see what you are reading. I wish each of you a happy and healthy 2011!